After introducing herself with the supernaturally catchy, low-slung R&B of ‘School Girls’, L Devine’s debut EP ‘Growing Pains’ was one of our standout pieces of music from late 2017. The EP was accompanied by a gritty, honest and poignant short film that was directed in collaboration with the influential videographer Emil Nava.
At the age of just 20, Devine does just about everything, and ‘Growing Pains’ is a perfect first collection of breakout, catchy, clever-pop. The EP’s five vital tracks are vignettes inspired by Devine’s own personal experiences; the trials and tribulations of growing up, and the need to assert her own sense of girl power to find her place in the world. The short film sets those stories to locations in Devine’s home city of Newcastle, which have been the backdrop to pivotal moments in her young life.
The EP opens with ‘When The Time’s Right’. This track is a moody, slow-burning throwback with lyrics that offer promise to a faltering relationship. As L Devine explains, “You want to be with them but they’re going through stuff and their head isn’t in the right place. You want to let them know you’ll still be there when they’ve figured it out”.
It’s followed by her debut track ‘School Girls’, which Devine wrote when she’d just finished school. “I was so excited to leave the world of cliquey bitchy drama behind and come into the adult world”, she added. “However, I quickly realised you find those types of people throughout life. No matter who you are or how old you are”.
The stripped-back introspection of closing track, ‘Panic’, reflects the vulnerability of its lyrics. In Devine’s words, “‘Panic’ is about that ‘oh shit’ moment when you’ve fallen for the person you weren’t supposed to. And the panic of feeling something you’ve never felt before. It’s about being in love for the first time and what a scary thing that is”.
Featured in the short film are L Devine’s close family and real-life best friendships; as well as a powerful arrangement of influential women who’ve made their mark on society in very special ways. These include Judith Alexander, a sniper for Northumbria police, the Coventry Dynamite Cheerleaders, and Mandy Coppin, the chief executive of youth charity Streetwise in Newcastle, and one of only a handful of female pilots that fly microlight aeroplanes.
Emil Nava spoke about creating the video and said, “The first time I spoke to Liv I knew that we had something special to create. She has such a beautiful honesty and I really wanted to capture this visually. Creating a complex character piece all set to Liv’s music was something so exciting for me. We shot on 16mm film to create a perfectly unique visual. Sometimes the images are suggestive, sometimes powerful, sometimes fun. But most of all they are focused on Olivia and the many aspects of her personality”.
Devine added, “Each of the women in the video has lived life with no restraints, and certainly never let their gender get in the way of working hard, doing what they love and being who they are“. The video was shot in her hometown of Newcastle, and before the shoot she arranged for her friends and family to take Emil to places where she spent most of her time growing up; “I think it then became clear that there was more of a story to tell”.